Emeryville Amy

This blog will be a combination of my favorite places in the Bay Area and abroad, memoirs, recipes, restaurant reviews and travel experiences.

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Location: Emeryville, San Francisco Bay Area, CA, United States

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Lessons From the I-5

I just returned from a whirlwind LA roadtrip. I wanted to see my family and LA friends before I take off on my big train adventure. The drive to LA is very familiar to me because I have been driving it for the past 20 years to visit home. Here are a few things I have learned over the years driving THE I-5.

(All of us from So Cal use the word "the" before naming the freeway or highway. It is a dead giveaway of your origins because nobody from Northern California ever says it like that. I guess in some ways I will always have a little LA in me.)


1. Going 80mph is for old ladies and truck drivers. All of the SUV's and sporty cars drive between 90-100mph. I know this because I was only going up to 80 and cars were flying past me.

2.It only takes a little rock to leave a BIG hole in your windshield when it bounces up from the road and smacks the windshield right in front of your face.

3. When a truck carrying a sign that says "WIDE LOAD" is in front of you, you better take it seriously. There is nothing like seeing an entire house cruising by on a flatbed.

4. The tomatoes piled to overflowing in the trucks cruising down the highway are probably NOT going to go flying onto your windshield even though there are 1000's of tomatoes lining the sides of the road. I have yet to be bombarded by them... knock on wood.

5.Ten thousand or so cows in less than a square mile tends to smell pretty bad. It is only advisable to hold your breath going through Coalinga if you are a passenger, not the DRIVER. It is never a good idea to hold your breath when you are driving (even if they don't say anything about that in the drivers ed manual...).

6.The radio is pretty much pointless between Livermore and LA.

7. It is possible to go almost 300 miles without making the slightest turn along the 5.

8. You really can get sunburned through car windows, even if "they" say that you can't. I advise a high SPF suncscreen and a light towel or sarong to drape over any exposed skin because it can be awfully hard to get rid of those bizarre unwanted tan lines...

9.If there has been repaving of only one lane of traffic you can get the "crossing the wake when waterskiing" feeling just by changing lanes.

10. If someone is going to rear end you when you are in bumper to bumper traffic (especially in the LA region) it is helpful if they own a car wash/ detailing business and offer to detail your car after the incident. My car hasn't looked so good in years...

11. It is good to make sure that your cup holder really is big enough to hold that 32 oz diet coke before you make a big turn back onto the highway and it jumps out onto the passenger side floor, out of reach. And of course, if this happens to you, see #10 and plan accordingly.

12.Some signs may make you wonder, especially if they say, "Pleasant Valley State Prison." What could possibly make a prison "pleasant"? Do they think that the inmates are going to feel better because it has a nice sounding name?

Just a few helpful hints and info that I discovered/relived on this trip. I hope all of you will have happy travels. Remember to always buckle up! Food for thought: Why don't school buses have seat belts? Have you ever sat in one and tried not to fall out of your seat? What is up with that?